"Under the Fig Tree"
"Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto Him, Whence knowest Thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto Him, Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God! Thou art the King of Israel!" (John 1:45-49).
Why did the Lord's mention of Nathanael under the fig tree so instantly and radically change Nathanael's opinion? We cannot say for certain. I have long surmised that the fig tree may have been a special place so private to Nathaniel that perhaps only he and God knew about it. Fig trees allow for such aloneness, with their large and canopied foliage. Could it have been the place he prayed? We cannot be sure, but something about the tree and the Lord's knowledge of it revealed to Nathaniel that Jesus was indeed the Christ. Something personal revealed the Savior personally. "The word of the Lord came to me" (Jeremiah 2:1).
God is personal with all who trust and submit their hearts to Him. In His time and way, He does things that we know to be Him because of their pointedly applied significance to us. We do well to expect such experiences, while not seeking to originate or manipulate them ourselves. We also do well to pray for each other that when the Lord Jesus sees us under our particular fig tree, as it were, we will greatly benefit from the realization of how personally involved He is in our lives. We presently "walk by faith, not by sight" (II Corinthians 5:7). Our Heavenly Father nevertheless does not leave us without witness of His presence and working. As we keep our eyes open to His working, we will see that He sees us. Thereby God becomes more than principle and theory. He rather becomes the Father we know. "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent" (John 17:3).
Our experience of the living God's involved presence in our lives hinges to a large degree on anticipation thereof. "My expectation is from Him" (Psalm 62:5). Our Lord is near, nearer than our next breath. He is personal, the very essence of personality. And He works in our hearts and lives in ways unique to each of His trusting children in Christ. "When thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee" said the Lord Jesus to Nathanael. It changed everything in the man's perspective regarding God and himself. Let us expect similar illumination, in our Lord's time and way. We will not be disappointed, and Nathanael's thrilled response will become our own - "Thou are the Son of God!"
"Say unto my soul, Thou art my salvation."
Weekly Memory Verse
"Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me. For I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."